Author Beeginnings: Melissa Senate

Melissa Senate is the author of ten novels in adult fiction and young adult fiction including See Jane Date, The Solomon Sisters Wise Up, Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?, Theodora Twist, The Breakup Club, Love You To Death, Questions to Ask Before Marrying, The Secret of Joy, The Mosts, and The Love Goddess' Cooking School. Here's our interview with Melissa to learn more about how she started her writing career. Enjoy!
What was your favorite book(s) when you were a child? 
As a kid, I loved Encyclopedia Brown and Judy Blume’s novels, but my very favorite has always been Anne of Green Gables. That book taught me that imagination will take you everywhere.

When did you start writing? 
I started writing in high school, but my work was always met with a sneer by the snooty teen editor of the literary journal in high school and college. In my early twenties, I took a writing class taught by one of my favorite literary writers, and she also hated everything I turned in. I was so discouraged until I realized what their problem was with my voice and style: I was a commercial writer, with a commercial, fun voice. When I understood that, when I took ownership of that voice, I wrote my first novel with confidence. And sold it!

What kind of writing did you start with? (short stories, poems, articles, etc.) 
I started with short stories. I love reading stories and story collections.

When did you decide to become an author and how did you know it was the right career for you? 
I’d long had the idea for my debut novel, See Jane Date, but because of discouragement when I was so young, I just kept it my head—and heart. But after reading Bridget Jones’ s Diary in the late 90s, I realized there was a market for the type of book I wanted to write, for my voice and style. Writing See Jane Date felt so right and so wonderful and when I wrote The End on the last page, I felt such a sense of achievement. I’ve been writing ever since.

What was the most challenging part of starting a writing career? What was the best part? 
The most challenging part for me has to do with how hard writing can be. Sometimes the words just won’t come, or they come backwards, or they come in circles. But that’s also the best part, because figuring it all out is what makes writing so rewarding.

Describe what it was like to see and hold the first published copy of your first novel. Were you relieved, excited, anxious? How did you celebrate the launch? 
I was so excited! No matter a negative review here or there, or someone saying, “That’s not my kind of book (there are some serious book snobs among my own dear friends and family!), I wrote a novel—and that novel was published. I was crazy proud. I threw myself a big launch party at a snazzy lounge in my then neighborhood in New York City. It was almost ten years ago and I vividly remember every wonderful minute of it.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 
Believe in yourself and trust your gut. The gut knows
Thank you, Melissa!

Look for Melissa's newest novel The Love Goddess' Cooking School available on October 26th!

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Have you read any of Melissa's novels? Can you relate to her responses? Let us know!